“For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. For one will scarcely die for a righteous person-though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die - BUT GOD shows His love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us” Romans 5:7-8
I often wonder what our lives as believers could look like if we lived with absolute certainty of God’s affection for us. We can all be really good at waving the banner, quoting the verses, singing the songs, and wearing the merch but when it comes down to it, few of us are fully convinced of the immovable and unconditional nature of God’s love, especially in the areas in our lives where we know that we fall short. Our finite nature does not allow us to comprehend the kind of love that literally comes without conditions. The kind of love that does not rise and fall with our accomplishments or lack thereof. The kind love that has existed within the heart of God for you and for me before we ever had the opportunity to earn it or work for it.
Such is the nature of God’s love, uncomplicated and unconditional. The scandalous nature of God’s love is most perfectly displayed and understood in the Gospel.
The gospel message is the most glorious love story ever told. It’s the story of a holy and perfect God deliberately choosing absolutely broken and depraved people upon whom to set His full affection, knowing fully all of the ways that we would break His heart and scorn His grace by our sin throughout the course of our lives. It’s the story of God knowing every degree of our past, present, and future depravity and yet still demonstrating His love by sending His son to die for us WHILE WE WERE STILL SINNERS. If God determined to love us while we were still dead in our sins, how much more will He continue in that wild and undeserved affection for the rest of eternity? How much more will His love persist through the struggle of still being formed into Christlikeness? How much more will His love endure through all of my faults and errors? How much more will His love cut through all of the reasons why I don’t deserve it?
Brennan Manning beautifully said in his book Abba’s Calling that “it takes a profound conversion to accept that God is relentlessly tender and compassionate toward us just as we are - not in spite of our sins and faults (that would not be total acceptance) but with them, though God does not condone or sanction evil, He does not withhold his love because there is evil in us”
To be loved by God is to be fully received, fully accepted, fully delighted in, and fully wanted through every stage of our discipleship. The Father determined that we would be His before the foundation of this world and there is nothing that we could ever do to make Him withhold that affection. Right here in the middle of our brokenness, in the middle of striving to love Him with our whole heart, soul, mind, and strength and yet still finding ourselves coming up short let us rest in His love. Right here as we are being sanctified and daily transformed into the image of Christ, let us rest wholly and completely in a love that just isn't going anywhere!